Northwestern Medicine Heart Valve Repair Patient: "I'm Ready to Take On the World"

Northwestern Medicine
Cardiology June 27, 2016
Mercedes Gilpatric, of Evanston, said she decided to participate in a clinical trial because she trusted the strong team within Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.

 Mercedes Gilpatric didn’t hesitate when her Northwestern Medicine cardiologist, Vera Rigolin, MD, asked her if she might be interested in a new investigational procedure that would repair her leaky tricuspid valve without open-heart surgery. This problem was causing Gilpatric extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. 
 
“What you have at Northwestern is an amazing team,” she said. “I didn’t have any qualms about it.”
 
Dr. Rigolin referred Gilpatric, 71, to Charles Davidson, MD, clinical chief of cardiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, to learn more about the SCOUT clinical trial, the world’s first investigational study of the Trialign device that allows for minimally invasive tricuspid valve repair.  
 
“The SCOUT trial allowed us to utilize catheter therapy to treat people with tricuspid regurgitation when medical therapies are ineffective,” Dr. Davidson said. 
 Instead of repairing the valve through conventional open-heart surgery, Dr. Davidson inserted a catheter into  Gilpatric’s neck, and directed the device into her heart to repair the valve with 2 stitches.
 
Gilpatric said she decided to participate in the trial because she trusted the strong team within Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, from the group performing the procedure to the nurses and staff she got to know through a series of pre- and post-procedure visits.
 
“I am delighted that this procedure was able to help Mrs. Gilpatric’s symptoms without the risks of open heart surgery,” Dr. Rigolin said. “This is an exciting step forward in the treatment of complex valve disease.”
 
Gilpatric was discharged from the hospital just days after the procedure.  When she returned for her 1-month visit, she said the change in her energy level was almost instantaneous.
 
“Before my valve repair, it was a major effort to do anything,” Gilpatric said. “Now I feel energetic. I feel wonderful. I’m ready to take on the world.”
 
In the first five months of 2016, doctors at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute were the first in the Midwest to successfully perform both the procedure on Gilpatric’s tricuspid valve, and in a separate patient, replace the mitral valve with a Neovasc Tiara Mitral Transcatheter Heart Valve with the Tiara Transapical Delivery System.
 
Dr. Davidson helped build the successful Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) program at Northwestern Medicine, and said he is committed to build upon that success by advancing cardiac medicine to minimally treat malfunctioning valves without open-heart surgery.
 
“We’ve had tremendous success in the transcatheter aortic valve therapy and now addressing the mitral and the tricuspid valve,” he said.
 
The principal investigator of the SCOUT trial is Stuart Rich, MD, director of the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. Others involved in the procedure with Gilpatric include Mark Ricciardi, MD, director of cardiac catheterization at Northwestern Memorial; James Thomas, MD, director of Bluhm’s Center for Heart Valve Disease; and Jyothy Puthumana, MD, cardiologist.
 
Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is one of the top 10 national programs for cardiology and heart surgery, according to U.S. News and World Report, and consistently ranked the top cardiovascular program in Chicago, Illinois and the surrounding states. To learn more about Northwestern Medicine’s top ranked cardiovascular care call 312.NM.HEART.

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